Are you ready to face the great outdoors this season? Maybe, it’s your first time heading off into the great unknown. Or, maybe you’re an experienced camper with many years under your belt.
Either way, cooking on a campfire can be a challenge. Hotdogs speared on sticks can get boring quick. And s’mores, despite being a traditional camping experience, are marvelously messy.
What’s the solution? Camping meals which are fast, easy, and stress-free. But where to start? It can be difficult to break old habits, and impossible to find recipes on the internet which cater to your specific needs.
That’s why we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. Read on to discover what exactly makes a great camping meal, and explore six tasty options that will make you want to head out into the woods every weekend.
What Makes a Great Camping Meal?
Photo by Teddy Kelley via Unsplash
A great camping meal brings people together. It gathers the troops for one last hurrah before heading off to the tents, allowing everyone to settle down after a long day of having fun.
Cooking while camping is no easy task, but you want to make it as simple as possible. After all, nobody wants to be squatting over the fire measuring out teaspoons while stirring a pot for hours on end. That doesn’t sound like fun at all. That sounds like work.
A good meal is hassle-free. It either cooks quickly, so you’re not wasting energy on preparing it, or it cooks slowly but doesn’t require any monitoring on your part. It doesn’t require multiple pots and pans, because these can be cumbersome to haul along with you.
It also doesn’t take too many ingredients. Especially if you have to hike a while to get to your campsite, you don’t want to haul a lot of food along with you. What you do pack should be nutrient-dense, protein-rich, and delicious.
– 6 Camping Meals We Can All Chow Down On –
Ready to discover the best camping meals of all time? Let’s go.
The Ragin’ Cajun Griller
Image via Flickr
This recipe is an easy, quick, and worry-free version of Cajun hobo packs. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Tin foil
- 2 cups andouille sausage (or two long links, sliced up)
- 2 cups peeled jumbo shrimp
- 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 4 ears corn on the cob, each cut into thirds
- 4 jumbo red potatoes, cut into ½ inch chunks.
This recipe couldn’t be easier. The beauty lies in its simplicity. Once you prepare the ingredients, all you have to do is combine them together in a large bowl. Then, sprinkle on the seasoning and toss everything together with the olive oil.
Set out squares of tinfoil and distribute the mixture evenly among them. Make sure to leave enough tin foil so that you can wrap up the packages, twisting the ends of the foil together. This creates a mini steam room inside the packet which helps everything cook.
Set on the campfire or hot coals and grill for half an hour to 45 minutes. When you think it’s done, check it carefully. The steam from the enclosed packet could be scalding. This recipe makes four or five servings, all packed with protein and flavor.
One-Pot Campfire Creamy Mac ‘n Cheese
This man ‘n cheese is sure to put a smile on your face and a spring in your step — after you’ve digested it a little bit, that is. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 cups macaroni
- 3 cups milk
- 3 tbsp butter
- ¼ cup flour
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs
- Salt and pepper to taste
This one pot mac tastes so good, you’ll swear it was made in heaven. To start with, you need a Dutch oven. On the bottom, melt the butter. Then stir in the flour, making a momentary light roux before adding the milk. Once the mixture is simmering, add the macaroni and let it cook as per the instructions.
Once your macaroni is cooked all the way through, stir in the cheese and breadcrumbs until everything blends together in paradisiacal creaminess. Then, add your salt and pepper.
You can add extras like mustard, hot sauce, or whatever else you want for additional flavoring. This recipe serves four to six people, depending on how hungry you are.
Vegetarian Campfire Nachos Made Simple
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You may not have heard of campfire nachos, but we’re here to assure you that they’re really a thing. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Family-sized bag of tortilla chips
- 1 large can sweet corn
- 1 large can refried beans
- ½ lb. shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 tomatoes, diced
This one is especially easy. Line the bottom of your Dutch oven with a double or triple-layer of chips. Then spread on a layer of beans, cheese, corn, onions, and tomatoes. Repeat this process again for the second and third layers, reserving an extra serving of cheese for the very top.
You can portion the ingredients out to make however many layers of nachos you want. Then, place the oven directly on the coals and let it sit for ten or twenty minutes. Once everything is nice and hot, let it cool down for about five minutes. You can serve four to five people with this meal, and you can even throw on some protein like beef or chicken if eating vegetarian isn’t your style.
Easy Canned Campfire Beef Stew
This campfire stew requires almost no preparation whatsoever, and you’re still left with a mouthwatering combination of flavors. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 10 oz can condensed beef stock or stew
- 10 oz can condensed tomato soup
- 15 oz can mixed vegetables
- ½ cup water
- 1 lb. ground beef
- Salt and pepper to taste
You may think of using canned goods as “cheating.” Four days into your trek, however, you’ll be grateful you brought them along. This is probably the easiest stew in the world to make. Begin by browning the beef at the bottom of the Dutch oven.
When the beef isn’t showing any pink, add the stock, tomato soup, can of vegetable, and seasonings. Feel free to toss in some garlic or onion powder for an extra kick, or hot sauce if you have it. Let the soup simmer for another half an hour to a full hour. The more patient you are, the better it will taste. This recipe serves four.
Campfire Eggscape Fabulous Frittata
A frittata cooks fast, and it’s easy to throw together. If you’re worried about all the eggs breaking, crack them into a water bottle before you start hiking and store it in your cooler. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 8 eggs
- ½ tbsp olive oil
- ½ cup cheddar cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Literally, anything else you want to add. Food such as sausage, bacon, veggies, corn, leftovers, etc.
Beat the eggs together in the bowl until smooth and creamy. Add the cheese and stir in any leftover food you may have laying around from previous meals, or anything you think would suit your tastes. The world is your frittata at this point.
Heat the oil in your Dutch oven. When it’s nice and hot, pour your egg mixture on top of it and put the lid on. This should take no more than 10 or 15 minutes to cook. However, that depends on what you’ve put into it. How many servings it yields also depends on what you’ve added, but the basic recipe serves four.
Pack These Essentials for Great Camping Meals
Great camping meals require great materials. Or at least, adequate materials. Certainly easy-to-clean, lightweight, and all-purpose materials. But what exactly are those?
Photo by Sandra Harris via Unsplash
You’ll need some basic camping appliances before you set off on your journey. You definitely don’t want to take too much with you, or your pack will weigh you down. But you don’t want to be caught without something you need.
Bring along a Dutch oven. It doesn’t have to be cast-iron, though this will produce the tastiest food. If your trip involves lots of hiking, you could opt for an aluminum Dutch oven instead. Bring along a good knife for cutting, a cutting board, and enough forks and spoons for everyone. Don’t forget bowls, either. Plates are optional.
Photo by Hue12 Photography via Unsplash
Spices can turn a bland meal into a delicious treat in no time flat. Consider bringing along some hot sauce, garlic, Italian seasoning, cumin, or curry for a bit of oomph. These extras can really help you out if you’re stuck eating the same food several times in a row.
If you don’t mind packing the cooler all the way to the brim, you can bring along an ice-cold six-pack or a bottle of your favorite campfire brandy. If you want to do some civilized drinking on the trip, check out these easy backpacking cocktails for a tasty good time.
Don’t forget dessert, either. Sweets like chocolate, cookies, or even snack cakes put everyone back into a good mood in case of foul weather or unexpected mishaps.
Camping Meals: The Backbone of a Backwoods Jaunt
Now that you know the basics of camping meals, it’s time to hit the trail. Remember to pack enough food for everyone, and don’t be afraid to mix it up a little bit. Your friends will thank you.
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